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Re: Debian is about providing the best free operating system



In <20000612002122.A1300@azure.humbug.org.au>,
 at "Mon, 12 Jun 2000 00:21:22 +1000",
 with "Re: Debian is about providing the best free operating system",
  Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:

aj> On Sun, Jun 11, 2000 at 03:31:48PM +0200, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
aj> >  Debian is about building the best *free* operatign system
aj> 
aj> Certainly this is an important goal of the Debian project.

Yes, and the reason why this is needed, is described in our historical
"The Debian Linux Manifesto" and our "Debian GNU/Linux Social Contract".

"The Debian Linux Manifesto" said:

  Such distribution is essential to the success of the Linux operating 
  system in the commercial market

  The time has come to concentrate on the future of Linux rather than on
  the destructive goal of enriching oneself at the expense of the entire
  Linux community and its future.  The development and distribution of
  Debian may not be the answer to the problems that I have outlined in
  the Manifesto, but I hope that it will at least attract enough
  attention to these problems to allow them to be solved.

Therefore, "The Debian distribution is created for the success of 
the Linux operating system in the commercial market" and "Debian is
created with the hope that it will at least attract enough attention
to the problems to allow them to be solved".

I think the problem in the current state is not "The Debian Project
(not the distribution) distribute the non-free software", but "The
many users still need some non-free softwares, thus we should create
and maintainace more [pure-free] softwares."

The cutting of the non-free area will hide the problem, and it
contradicts the spirit of the creation ("it will at least attract
enough attention to the problems") and our Social Contract, which says 
"We Won't Hide the Problem".

Our ["Social Contract" with the Free Software Community] also said:

   We will make the best system we can, so that free software will be 
   widely distributed and used.

We should make "the free software will be widely distributed and used".
In recent tide of "Open Source" movements, some good things happen, 
but some bad things happen also.  We know the licenses such as APSL
or SCSL is not "Free" as desribed in our DFSG, but there are many
people who don't understand it.  And more, Solaris has been provided
"for free" for personal use.  

RMS wrote in his text:
 <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html>

  This approach has proved effective, in its own terms. Today many people are
  switching to free software for purely practical reasons. That is good, as far
  as it goes, but that isn't all we need to do! Attracting users to free software
  is not the whole job, just the first step.

  Sooner or later these users will be invited to switch back to proprietary
  software for some practical advantage. Countless companies seek to offer such
  temptation, and why would users decline? Only if they have learned to value the
  freedom free software gives them, for its own sake. It is up to us to spread
  this idea--and in order to do that, we have to talk about freedom. A certain
  amount of the ``keep quiet'' approach to business can be useful for the
  community, but we must have plenty of freedom talk too.

  At present, we have plenty of ``keep quiet'', but not enough freedom talk. Most
  people involved with free software say little about freedom--usually because
  they seek to be ``more acceptable to business.'' Software distributors
  especially show this pattern. Some GNU/Linux operating system distributions add
  proprietary packages to the basic free system, and they invite users to
  consider this an advantage, rather than a step backwards from freedom.

  We are failing to keep up with the influx of free software users, failing to
  teach people about freedom and our community as fast as they enter it. This is
  why non-free software such as Qt was, and partially non-free operating system
  distributions, find such fertile ground. To stop using the word ``free'' now
  would be a mistake; we need more, not less, talk about freedom.

  Let's hope that those using the term ``open source'' will indeed draw more
  users into our community; but if they do, the rest of us will have to work even
  harder to bring the issue of freedom to those users' attention. We have to say,
  ``It's free software and it gives you freedom!''--more and louder than ever
  before.

I agree with that we should talk about freedom more often, and 
the discussion about this GR has some meaningful effect.  But if 
we lose our users, we will lose our chance to teach people about 
freedom, it will take "just the first step" from us.

I have read the story about "The battle in the Sabbath" somewhere
in the Old Testament.  People who did not fight in the Sabbath
in order to obey the doctorine strictly, had been destroyed.
I hope the Debian will survive the hard game with the clever strategy
and the tactics.

Thanks.
-- 
  Taketoshi Sano: <sano@debian.org>,<sano@debian.or.jp>,<kgh12351@nifty.ne.jp>



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